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Nutrition Informatics Blog

Personal Health Record Systems (PHR-S) - Bridging the Gap

(Consultation and Business) Permanent link   All Posts

Guest Blog By: John Snyder, DTR,RD    The Human Element, Inc.

It is pretty easy to follow the natural progression of computer software in the field of dietetics. First there was Bowes and Church and the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Then came nutritional analysis software that exploded into web-based applications. Now with "Smart - Mobile" devices we have access to "Apps" that let us track and analyze our food intake, log activity, track blood sugars or blood pressure, and a host of other health related information. Doctors are now keeping health information in electronic health record systems (EHR-S). Patients can see that information and even get a copy of it, but may not "touch" it. It's a legal record that a patient doesn't have the authority to add to or change directly. Patients must communicate information to the practitioner and the practitioner must then add it to the EHR. The question is how we bridge the gap so that health information tracked by the patient seamlessly flows through to a practitioner. Enter stage left--the personal health record system (PHR-S).

 

 Personal Health Record Systems (PHR-S) have the potential to bridge the gap between the health information people keep track of and the EHR-S, making it easier for practitioners to have access to a more complete health picture. PHR-S may allow people to create and store personal health information including history of diseases and immunizations; real-time tracking of prescription and Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, herbal products, and supplements; diet and exercise information, and chronic disease monitoring information such as blood glucose levels or blood pressure. Once this information is in the PHR-S, security access rights may be assigned to that information to allow/deny sharing it with providers, laboratories, health information exchanges, Immunization Information Systems, etc. It could even allow linking to a family member's PHR to create a medical genealogy. PHR-S also have the ability to act as the gateway for mobile device companies, such as Garmin or AccuCheck, to upload information from their devices into a system that will communicate it to an EHR-S without having to absorb the time and cost of developing their own EHR-S compliant bridge. 

 

The full potential of PHR-S is starting to take shape as the market niche reorganizes and clearly defines its role. Dietitians need to be aware of and do our best to influence this newly emerging market. While the diet and fitness industries may have started the trend of web-based and mobile health application development, manufactures of mobile devices for tracking chronic disease conditions are hot on their heels. Dietitians are already the subject matter experts in most, if not all, of these areas and can help PHR-S vendors obtain the most meaningful information for sharing with an EHR-S.  

 


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